OlliOlli World Review

Four things I like about this game, and one I don't

OlliOlli World

By Paul Hunter

You have to hand it to the development team at Roll7 for creating a new entry in their popular OlliOlli series that improves upon literally everything from the previous games. The gameplay has new tricks up its sleeves, there's lots of cool new character customizations, it's far more accessible, many levels are now multi-route, and it's all wrapped in sweet new cel-shaded graphics that look like a colourful and cheery Saturday morning cartoon. OlliOlli World is the perfect skateboarding game to melt a few hours away while having a blast and not even realizing the time.

Echoing the game's lighthearted presentation is a silly story about how you're the new chosen one in the world of Radlandia who must now master skateboarding skills to please the mystical gods in Gnarvana. Along the way you'll meet cute and quirky folks like Gnarly Mike, Dad, skateboarding aliens, sentient ice creams and, umm, Thicc Mary the tree. Yeah it's entirely silly, yet ridiculously fun. So let's hop on our boards for some grinds, tricks and flips, here are four things I liked about the game...and one I didn't.

Liked: The Stellar Hand-Drawn Graphics

The centrepiece feature of OlliOlli World are the succulent new hand-drawn graphics that are so colourful and enticing. Whereas the previous OlliOlli games used a pixel art aesthetic, this time we've got an entire world with five distinct regions all beautifully represented in vibrant 2.5D artwork.

Before and after each level you'll be treated to dialogue moments where your eclectic group of characters will chat about random things like how they love to please the skateboarding gods or cracking jokes about the next challenge you're about to face. These story beats are extremely well animated but also entirely skippable if you want to get straight to the action.

The levels themselves are equally nice on the eyes featuring gorgeous backdrops like sandy beaches, lush woodlands, burnt forests and Egyptian-inspired pyramids. A fully animated Super Mario World-esque map connects all the regions and is also teeming with life, like the flapping kraken tentacles to the south or the smoking downed UFO to the north. Graphically everything just looks so, so good.

Liked: The Impeccable Combo System

Roll7 has vastly improved the trick combo system in OlliOlli World because not only are there a wider variety of moves you can perform—like new board grabs—but landing tricks is way easier because you're no longer required to time a button push for a perfect land.

The tricks themselves are infinitely deep and near impossible to master aside from the most elite skilled gamers out there. On a basic level, you can perform ollies, kickflips and heelflips with simple flicks of the left analog stick. But then there are advanced tricks like 360-degree slides and 540-degree dolphin flips that require you to do analog motions similar to Street Fighter.

For skate masters, there are even more complex tricks where you need to rotate the stick in challenging patterns like a half-circle left and then another half-circle right, amusingly called the Strawberry Milkshake. Pulling off these ridiculously hard tricks will improve your combo score to help you climb up the coveted leaderboards.

The beauty of OlliOlli World's trick system is it's easy to rack up sizeable combos even with the basic moves, so long as you can handle performing manuals (done by holding the left analog stick left or right before landing). You can keep on stringing together simple ollies from level start to finish if you want, and then over time work in more advanced tricks. It's an approachable system that's flexible enough to adapt to newcomers while deep enough to satisfy even the most hardcore skateboarders out there.

Liked: The Multi-Routes

A huge new change in OlliOlli World are the dozens of multi-route levels that add tremendous visual variety while simultaneously vastly increasing the replayability. During specific moments in these levels you can effortlessly switch routes with the tap of a button, which will bring your character either closer into the foreground or push them deeper into the background. Often times the camera will also zoom out to give you nicer, larger views of the stages and their spaghetti mess of ramps, rails and half pipes.

There are also special challenge routes that require you to perfectly time jumps to reach a higher area, or deviously clever spots where you have to expertly navigate through some grind rails to find the new paths. These provide incentives to replay levels and experience all the routes, and also to experiment and find the 'optimal' one to maximize your combo and scores. Plus it's just cool to replay a level a half dozen times and never have the same route twice. What a great new addition to the OlliOlli series!

Liked: The Asynchronous Multiplayer

While on the topic of replayability, the awesome asynchronous multiplayer essentially makes OlliOlli World a game of infinite possibilities. By going into the Gnarvana Portal you can dynamically create custom levels by picking its area background, difficulty and size. You're then given a level code that you can share with friends to compete on their own time for the highest score. There's also a random level generator for when you're looking for a surprise without the hassles.

Another multiplayer mode is the Gnarvana League, complete with seasons, that challenges the entire online community to play the same stages and compete for the highest score. Each league event lasts for a certain number of days, and you can rise rank from bronze to silver to gold and beyond as you battle for the season rewards. From what I've seen, the event levels are generally fairly simple to complete, but the real challenge is chaining tricks and racking up a huge score. It's the perfect spot to practice the complex tricks since most events last a few days, giving you plenty of time to test and experiment.

Didn't Like: Still Too Challenging for Newcomers

I'll begin by reiterating that Roll7 has done a phenomenal job making OlliOlli World the series' most accessible entry yet. It's significantly easier to get into compared to the punishing last two entries that demanded pixel precision and perfectly timed button presses. So great job overall.

That said, particularly in the latter half of the game there are still many extremely challenging levels where you might feel like you've passed them purely out of luck. There were also a few levels with ridiculously challenging jump sequences that demanded absolute precision and enough retries to break up the game's flow. What was most disappointing for me personally though was that the game's charming visuals and lighthearted nature really made me want to enjoy the game with my family, but it's a hard game for younger gamers to get into. We'll keep on practicing but it looks like family games night will still be Mario Kart or Cruis'n Blast for the time being.

The Verdict

OlliOlli World is skateboarding bliss. I've already plunked a few dozen hours into the game and it's a game I'm going to keep coming back to, whether that's to expand on my trick skills or to simply chill out for an hour and while having a blast. I love the new cel-shaded graphics and kudos to Roll7 for making this iteration a lot easier to get into. If you're a fan of Skate or Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and are craving your next skateboarding fix, this game absolutely delivers.

Final Score: 8.5/10 - Great

OlliOlli World details

Platform: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Developer: Roll7
Publisher: Private Division
Genre: Sports
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

A key was provided by the publisher.